Controlling the charge state of a single redox molecular switch

Phys Rev Lett. 2011 May 27;106(21):216103. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.106.216103. Epub 2011 May 27.


Scanning tunneling microscopy and dynamic force microscopy in the noncontact mode are used in combination to investigate the reversible switching between two stable states of a copper complex adsorbed on a NaCl bilayer grown on Cu(111). The molecular conformation in these two states is deduced from scanning tunneling microscopy imaging, while their charge is characterized by the direct measurement of the tip-molecule electrostatic force. These measurements demonstrate that the molecular bistability is achieved through a charge-induced rearrangement of the coordination sphere of the metal complex, qualifying this system as a new electromechanical single-molecular switch.